This year was supposed to be about getting back on track with my fiction writing and marketing my books. It started off well in January. I had a new release called Marry Me which was available exclusively from the Happily Ever After Collective on Patreon. I was managing to write every day and feeling really good. I was working on a new book for the next season of HEA Collective and writing a standalone for the Maybe… series.
I’d asked 2023 to be kinder than the previous years and it seemed like it was delivering.
Of course, it was too good to be true
Within a few weeks, I was in the midst of restructuring limbo at my day job, switched to a new project and finding that I had to do extra work since we were no longer allowed to use freelancers as backup. Whatever work-life balance I had that gave me space to write disappeared. I had a couple of meltdowns while trying to figure out how to write copy for this new project – especially when the early collaboration I was used to as a senior-level copywriter seemed to be downgraded as irrelevant.
I was told, “All we need from you are snappy headings.”
Not what you want to hear when you are a copywriter whose specialty is emotional storytelling and who was hired on the strength of that type of storytelling.
Of course, it turned out that more was needed but not being able to contribute to the concept in a meaningful way left me feeling disconnected from the project. I did what was needed. I didn’t really feel fulfilled or satisfied. And I was frustrated that the extra projects I’d had to take on were overwhelming and left me too exhausted to even put in the bare minimum necessary to work on my fiction writing.
I was not happy. For nearly three years, I loved my job. Now I dreaded even having to be in meetings. I couldn’t figure out what to prioritize and everyone was telling me to prioritize their project but no one seemed to get that I was struggling – even when I was very frank about it.
I guess the honeymoon was over.
We decided to move to Malmö
Then we decided to move to a new city. As much as I loved Älmhult, I missed the options available in a larger city. We’d been spending a lot of time in Malmö doing housesitting/pet-sitting gigs on the side and we’d come to love the city. We found a great apartment and could move in the first week of July… and then we had to start packing.
Not the news we were hoping for
Then I found out that my mom’s cancer was back. This time it wasn’t in her lungs. It had metastasised as lesions on her brain.
All my focus (what was left of it anyway) disappeared. I had to drop out of season 2 of the Happily Ever After Collective because I was too frazzled with everything going on at work + moving + my mom to write. The standalone? I hadn’t touched it in months because my focus and motivation were shot to shit, for lack of better phrasing.
So what’s going on now?
My mom had been planning to come to Sweden at the end of August. That’s no longer possible now. She’d booked tickets so that I could fly back to the US with her. We’re trying to get those tickets transferred to my name so that I can use them to fly over. I’ve asked my manager and project lead to take me off a project for Q4 since I don’t know how long I will need to be in the US, and they’ve been very supportive.
I’m hoping I can head to Philadelphia to see my mom and help out within the next week or so. I won’t feel like I can completely relax until I can see my mom again. I haven’t been in the US since last April-May, when she was first diagnosed with lung cancer and going through targeted radiation treatments. I’d hoped to have been there last autumn but work got in the way.
I don’t know when a new book will come. I hope soon but I can’t guarantee anything. If you’ve been following me, then you know that the last few years have not been good. I’ve lost too many friends and loved ones to stroke, cancer, etc.
I’m doing the best I can. But sometimes it feels like I’m treading water and just trying to keep my head above the surface.
So, please, bear with me. Please be patient.
And keep my mom in your thoughts. And if you or someone you love is affected by lung cancer, please consider giving to your local cancer or lung cancer charity.
Canada: Lung Cancer Canada
South Africa: Cancer Association of South Africa